Your child, grandchild, or niece/nephew aren’t excited about voting, are they? Let’s discuss why that might be.
They just don’t get it, do they? The harder you try to get through to them, the further away they seem to pull from you. You can’t understand it — how could they not care? Surely, they must see how terrible Trump is, right? They have to know how crucial this moment is. They can’t just sit idly by while the world burns, can they? No! They can’t! You didn’t raise or help raise them this way. What if I told you that they do care. That they’re just as passionate, if not even more so, than you are. They know that Trump is terrible, just like you do. Breathe a little easier; they’re not a spawn of satan. You probably have a lot in common with them; you haven’t lost them just yet; however, if you don’t show them any empathy, then you just might lose them. You have to try your hardest to understand their perspective.
Biden isn’t that bad, is he?
I can’t speak for every young Black voter. I am not the voice of a generation, and I don’t believe that such a phenomenon exists. I can only speak for myself. However, I hope that by sharing my personal perspective, you can find some commonalities with the young person you want to reach and me. I was eight years old when the Iraq War began. I was 13 years old when the stock market crashed. I was also 13 when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were elected, and I watched as Congress bailed out Wall Street. I was wondering why the fancy Wall Street speculators, who are just glorified gamblers, got all of the money, as my mother lost ownership of her home and car in the same summer. The same house that we’d lived in since I was born.
I started learning more about politics and realized that Joe Biden was a significant voice within the Democratic Party to help get the Iraq War authorized. I watched helplessly on C-SPAN as I saw my school lose funding so that we could pay for that war. I marched as a Drum Major in my high school marching band with torn uniforms and duct-taped instruments because the arts weren’t a priority anymore. However, I persevered through it because I knew that music was my way into college. I was right, but music didn’t pay for everything. I took on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, as did my mother. As a result, she had to move out of that house that she was now renting because of the “Great Recession.” She downsized to a two-bedroom apartment so that we could make ends meet.
As I got closer to graduation, I started to realize that I couldn’t stay in school, because Momma needed help with the bills. I realized that a degree wouldn’t save me from my student loan debt, because the money I’d make as a music teacher would pale in comparison to the mountain of loans that I had. I started to research ways on how to deal with my student loan debt, and I stumbled across an article that said that Joe Biden’s bankruptcy bill made it impossible for me to declare bankruptcy on them. After leaving college, I met an amazing girl from Petersburg, Virginia. When we got serious enough to meet each others’ parents, I traveled with her to her hometown. I couldn’t drive two blocks without seeing shiny police cars, but I also couldn’t drive for two seconds without running into a pothole. She showed me the schools she went to, and I saw the crumbling buildings and neglected playgrounds. She said it looked just as she remembered.
I thought about the leading Presidential candidate at the time, you guessed it, Joe Biden. His signature achievement in the 90’s was authoring the 1994 Crime Bill. I wish that this controversial bill had investments in education, healthcare, and community centers, but it didn’t. Do you know what it did have? Funding for Police budgets and incarceration. This reminded me of my two older brothers, my cousin, and his father, who’s my uncle. I thought about how all of them spent time in prison. I thought about how expensive it was to make calls to them, so they had to write me letters. I remember how sad they told me they were that they chose a life of crime, because they didn’t see enough jobs in our area. They weren’t ‘smart like me,’ so college wasn’t an option for them. This all started to add up when I saw that real wages haven’t risen in over 40 years.
I’ve said all of that to say this, Mr. Biden built a career on destroying my life. Joseph didn’t just say bad things, he caused significant harm, and he needs to make amends for these things with the power that he seeks. As I write this, people are dying every day due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and Joe Biden refuses to guarantee them all health care. I’m sure that my sob story is nothing new to you. I’m sure you can tell me about all of the hardships that you had to deal with growing up, too. I wonder, have you asked that same young person that won’t vote for Biden how they feel about our economy? Have you asked them how the student loan debt crisis impacts them? Wouldn’t it be great if we talked about all of the things that we want to see to make all of our lives easier?
Joe Biden, and the entire Democratic Party, get our unwavering support because they’re not like those evil Republicans. However, they haven’t proved themselves competent enough to address our material needs. In fact, they’ve actively made our lives more difficult. As young people of all races protest in the streets demanding that we defund the Police, Joe Biden refuses to adopt that position. I want people that represent me to actually represent me. For every policy disaster that I’ve lived through, Joe Biden has had a hand in creating it. So if you want me, or anyone else in my generation, to vote for him, explain to us how you’re going to pressure him into helping us. Explain to us that you understand that our generation has had a much tougher time economically than our predecessors not because we’re lazy, but because the costs of everything from education to housing has skyrocketed while wages have stagnated.
Show us that you’re willing to join us in solidarity, because as scary as this pandemic is, climate change could be far worse. Show us, that even though you probably won’t be alive to see the worst of it, that you’re still willing to fight for our future just as hard as we’ll fight for your Social Security and Medicare right now. That’s how we’ll make this country better. It’s the only way that we’ll make this country better. Prove to us that you won’t go to sleep just because Biden isn’t as outrageous a character as Trump is. Prove to us that you care about more than just Trump’s obnoxiousness, and that you’re also worried that a bi-partisan coalition in Congress refused to let Trump pull troops out of Afghanistan earlier this month. Voting is crucial, but so too is applying oversight to our government. Our government should serve us. Show us that you’re determined to make that a reality.